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5 questions that’ll decide the election in Pa. | Morning Newsletter

And, how Philly workers are fighting back in 2020.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

I hope you were able to have a safe Labor Day Weekend, also known as the unofficial end of summer, especially down the Shore. It was a strange one, that’s for sure. My colleagues Lauren Schneiderman and Astrid Rodrigues were out capturing pictures and videos of what it was like.

It’s also a time of transition for Philly sports teams. While the Sixers and Flyers have made their playoff exits in recent weeks, the Eagles kick off their season this Sunday, the Phillies won a roller coaster game yesterday, and the Union are back playing games and scoring highlight-worthy goals.

— Josh Rosenblat (@joshrosenblat,

Labor means a lot to Philly. But the specifics of what that looks like have changed over the years, my colleague Juliana Feliciano Reyes reports. Low-wage service workers, both union and nonunion, are using their increasing political power. Rank-and-file workers are challenging establishment labor leaders. Highly educated workers are turning to unions to help make sure that seemingly progressive institutions maintain their values.

Even with these changes though, American workers’ union membership is the lowest it’s ever been. At the same time, public support for unions is at its highest in nearly two decades, according to a Gallup poll. Yesterday, on Labor Day, Philly workers rallied for pandemic protections.

In August, Philadelphia’s gun violence crisis surged to unmatched levels in recent city history. The Police Department reported that 275 people were shot. That’s by far the highest single-month total since at least 2007. It was the fourth month in a row that the victim tally grew to marks the city hasn’t seen in years, according to police data.

The explanations vary depending on whom you talk to. Some city officials, such as Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw and District Attorney Larry Krasner, have routinely pointed to systemic issues that they say have gotten worse during 2020, including poverty, lack of opportunity, and easy access to guns. U.S. Attorney William McSwain and rank-and-file members of the Police Department have blamed Krasner for being too lenient on criminal defendants.

Last week, a major Democratic political group presented a chart that projected each party’s path to victory in the presidential election. Pennsylvania sat dead center as the state most likely to decide the winner.

It’s impossible to name just one key to winning the state, my colleague Jonathan Tamari writes. Instead, Tamari offers five key questions that could help determine who wins the Keystone State, including whether the suburbs continue to turn blue and how much COVID-19 will impact voters.

What you need to know today

  1. Hundreds of demonstrators blocked an intersection in Old City near Mayor Jim Kenney’s residence Sunday night. They opposed the city’s plans to close down the encampments where people experiencing homelessness have lived for months. When the city does close the encampments, it’s not quite clear what’s going to happen to the people living there.

  2. City Council’s fall session will begin Thursday, with the heavy-handed response to this year’s protests against police brutality taking center stage.

  3. One of the nation’s largest postal processing and distribution centers is in Southwest Philadelphia. In the second half of last year, there were 13,000 late trips from that center, according to a Postal Service report.

  4. Bridge Way School is one of just two Pennsylvania high schools for students recovering from a substance-abuse disorder. My colleagues Aubrey Whelan and Bethany Ao report on how it’s finding ways to fight back against a trend of some teens turning to substance abuse during isolation because of the pandemic.

  5. Some families are wondering why opening public schools for private child care providers is OK while students remain at home.

  6. Gun shops in the Philadelphia area say a combination of things has been driving shortages of firearms and ammunition.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Love getting some green with my Philly skyline pics. Thanks for sharing, @jasonbatesimagery.

Tag your Instagram posts or tweets with #OurPhilly and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature in this newsletter and give you a shout out!

That’s interesting

  1. 🦅The Eagles invested a lot of money in their interior line, making it the “engine” of the defense. With the season getting underway in just a matter of days, you can check out analysis and player profiles of the entire 2020 roster.

  2. 🔬Could COVID-19 spark an American scientific renaissance?

  3. 🏒The Flyers look to be entering into a hopeful era, despite their exit from the playoffs, columnist Marcus Hayes writes.

  4. 🍽️Want to support Philadelphia restaurants? Owners gave their advice on the best ways to do that to my colleague Grace Dickinson.

  5. 💈A new photo book documents the essence of Black barbershops. Here are some of the images from Philly-born photographer Antonio Johnson.

  6. 🏨Without many travelers, hotels are finding a new function during the pandemic: housing for college students.


“While wages are key, losing a job means losing much more than income. With work so ingrained into all aspects of American life, culture, and value systems, when work disappears so can a sense of purpose and identity.” — writes The Inquirer Editorial Board about how this Labor Day was unlike any other.

  1. It might be time to defund Philadelphia’s Office of Violence Prevention, writes columnist Helen Ubiñas.

  2. Columnist Maria Panaritis writes about how Ambler schools have the will and resources to do in-person instruction.

What we’re reading

  1. Philadelphia Magazine has a long story that looks back at the decades of Philly mayors who have promised to end poverty. None of them have.

  2. Kobe Bryant’s childhood home (complete with a basketball hoop, of course) is for sale in Wynnewood, the LA Times reports.

  3. A ProPublica investigation found that New Orleans hospitals sent coronavirus-infected patients into hospice facilities or home to their families to die.

Your Daily Dose of | Dinosaurs

More than 70 lifelike animatronic dinosaurs invaded the Wells Fargo Center parking lot this weekend, bringing folks from across the region. The traveling show is billed as North America’s biggest and most realistic dinosaur exhibit. It’s scheduled to run through Sept. 20. You can check out pictures here.